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Publication numberUS7237825 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/907,999
Publication dateJul 3, 2007
Filing dateApr 25, 2005
Priority dateApr 25, 2005
Fee statusPaid
Publication number10907999, 907999, US 7237825 B1, US 7237825B1, US-B1-7237825, US7237825 B1, US7237825B1
InventorsRobert Tilli, Benjamin Coon, Michael Whitens, Zhibing Deng, Chunhui Li, Se Kyoon Shin
Original AssigneeFord Global Technologies, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automotive interior trim panel with integral acoustic chamber and pelvic bolster
US 7237825 B1
Abstract
An automotive interior trim panel includes a contoured panel having an interior surface forming a portion of a passenger compartment of a vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with an exterior body panel to define a first volume. A speaker port is formed in the contoured panel for locating a speaker within the first volume. A shell including an integral acoustic volume and a pelvic bolster circumscribes a portion of the exterior surface of the contoured panel, including a speaker port. The shell is mounted to the exterior surface of the contoured panel so as to define both an acoustic chamber and a pelvic bolster supported by the contoured panel and extending within the first volume.
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Claims(14)
1. An automotive interior trim panel, comprising:
a contoured panel having an interior surface forming a portion of a passenger compartment of a vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with an exterior body panel to define a first volume;
a speaker port, formed in said contoured panel, for locating a speaker at least partly within said first volume;
a speaker mounted within said speaker port and having a magnet portion extending into said first volume; and a shell, comprising an integral acoustic volume and pelvic bolster, circumscribing a portion of said exterior surface of said contoured panel including said speaker port, with said shell being mounted to said exterior surface and within said first volume, so as to define both an acoustic chamber and a pelvic bolster supported by the contoured panel.
2. An automotive trim panel according to claim 1, wherein said shell is bonded about substantially its entire periphery to said contoured panel.
3. An automotive trim panel according to claim 1, wherein a portion of said shell is bonded to the periphery of said speaker port.
4. An automotive trim panel according to claim 1, wherein said
shell defines a pelvic bolster having a plurality of hollow, tiered force transmission segments.
5. An automotive trim panel according to claim 1, wherein said shell is ultrasonically welded about substantially its entire periphery to said contoured panel, such that said acoustic chamber is a sealed acoustic chamber.
6. An automotive interior trim panel, comprising:
a contoured panel having an interior surface defining a portion of the passenger compartment of a vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with an exterior body panel to define a first volume;
a speaker port, formed in said contoured panel, for locating a speaker within said first volume;
a speaker mounted to said speaker port and having a magnet portion extending into said first volume; and
an integral shell, bonded about substantially its entire periphery to a portion of said exterior surface of the contoured panel, including the speaker port, so as to define a sealed acoustic chamber and pelvic bolster located within said first volume and supported entirely by the contoured panel, with said port being in communication with said acoustic chamber.
7. An automotive trim panel according to claim 6, wherein said integral shell is friction welded to said contoured panel.
8. An automotive body structure, comprising:
a formed exterior panel;
a contoured panel having an interior surface for defining a portion of a passenger compartment of a vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with said exterior panel to define a first volume;
a speaker port, formed in said contoured panel, for locating a speaker within said first volume;
a speaker mounted to said contoured panel within said speaker port; and
a unitary, combination pelvic bolster and acoustic chamber shell, mounted to at least a portion of the exterior surface of the contoured panel and extending within said first volume, such that said shell circumscribes said speaker port and defines a fixed tuning volume behind said speaker, and with said pelvic bolster comprising an integral, hollow, multiplanar member for transmitting force through said contoured panel and into the pelvic region of an occupant of a vehicle seated adjacent said contoured panel.
9. An automotive body structure according to claim 8, wherein said shell is bonded about substantially its entire periphery to said contoured panel.
10. An automotive body structure according to claim 8, wherein said shell is friction welded to said contoured panel.
11. An automotive body structure according to claim 8, wherein said speaker and said shell are sealingly mounted to said speaker port, with said shell being sealingly mounted about substantially its entire periphery to said contoured panel.
12. An automotive body structure according to claim 8, wherein said multiplanar member comprises a portion of said fixed tuning volume.
13. An automotive body structure according to claim 8, wherein said speaker comprises a subwoofer.
14. An automotive body structure according to claim 13, wherein said formed exterior panel comprises an outer surface of a passenger door.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an automotive trim panel construction having a combination acoustic chamber and pelvic bolster.

2. Disclosure Information

Automotive closure structures are becoming increasingly complex due to a variety of competing demands. In the case of closure structures required to perform multiple duties, such as vehicle doors, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in higher-end audio systems requiring more powerful speaker systems, while at the same time requirements relating to automotive safety continue to place even more importance upon the energy management capability of doors. In the present case, the inventors provide, in a single vehicle door, not only superior sound quality, but also enhanced protection during side impacts. This is in contrast to the usual prior art side impact structure shown as a solid block of foam in FIG. 6 herein. Such foam, although offering a response to a side impact, contributes nothing to the vehicle's sound system. Known acoustic chambers, such as that shown in U.S. patent publication 2001/0030078A1 which shows an acoustic chamber having no capability regarding management of side impact force, also suffer from the deficiency that the chamber is generally not unitary, and is not integral with the door trim panel. As a result, the cost is high, and the acoustic results are inferior to the results produced by an acoustic and impact energy absorbing structure according to the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An automotive interior trim panel includes a contoured panel having an interior surface forming a portion of the passenger compartment of the vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with an exterior body panel to define a first volume. A speaker port, formed in the contoured panel locates a speaker within the first volume. The speaker is mounted at least partly within the speaker port and has a magnet portion extending into the first volume. A shell, including an integral acoustic volume and a pelvic bolster, circumscribes a portion of the exterior surface of the contoured panel, including the speaker port. The shell is mounted to the exterior surface of the contoured panel so as to define both an acoustic chamber and a pelvic bolster supported by the contoured panel. A shell is preferably bonded about its entire periphery to the contoured panel. A portion of the shell is preferably bonded to the periphery of the speaker port. The pelvic bolster defined by the shell preferably has a plurality of hollow, tiered, force transmission segments. The shell may be ultrasonically welded on substantially its entire periphery to the contoured panel, such that the acoustic chamber is sealed. In other words, the acoustic chamber has a constant volume, which promotes excellent audio performance. The pelvic bolster portion of the shell comprises an integral, hollow, multiplanar member for transmitting force through the contoured panel and into the pelvic region of an occupant of the vehicle.

According to another aspect of the present invention, an automotive body structure includes a formed exterior panel and a contoured panel having an interior surface for defining a portion of a passenger compartment of the vehicle, and an exterior surface cooperating with the exterior panel to define a first volume. The speaker port is formed in the contoured panel and a speaker is located at least partly within the first volume. A unitary, combination pelvic bolster and acoustic chamber shell is mounted to at least a portion of the exterior surface of the contoured panel within the first volume, such that shell circumscribes the speaker port and defines a fixed tuning volume behind the speaker, with the pelvic bolster formed as an integral, hollow, multiplanar member for transmitting lateral impact force through the contoured panel and into the pelvic region of an occupant of the vehicle. In essence, the multiplanar force transmitting member itself is a portion of the fixed tuning volume.

It is an advantage of an automotive trim panel according to the present invention that because the combination acoustic shell and impact force transmitting member is supported by a contoured panel defining substantially the entire interior surface of the trim panel, the shell and contoured panel may be handled as a unitary structure, as opposed to the piecemeal, multipart devices shown in the prior art. Such prior art systems suffer from increased assembly labor costs, as well as the undesirable complexity associated with additional part numbers.

It is a further advantage of a trim panel according to the present invention that the audio performance capability of a vehicular sound system will be enhanced, while at the same time weight and cost are reduced through the elimination of unneeded speakers.

It is yet a further advantage of a trim panel according to the present invention that the side impact response may be adjusted by changing the parameters of an engineered structural member incorporated into the acoustic shell.

Other advantages, as well as features and objects of the present invention, will become apparent to the reader of the following specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a ghost perspective view of a vehicle having a door trim panel according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the exterior portion of a door trim panel according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a combination acoustic shell, pelvic bolster, and speaker mount according to one aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a section of the shell of FIG. 2, taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 illustrates the interior portion of a door trim panel according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a prior art door trim panel.

FIG. 7 is a horizontal section of an acoustic shell according to the present invention, taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, vehicle 10 has an interior trim panel 12 including a contoured panel 14. Panel 12 and door panel 22 define a first volume within the door. Speaker 26 and acoustic shell 28 are also shown in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 2, acoustic shell 28 is applied to exterior surface 18 of contoured panel 14. Acoustic shell 28 is bonded about substantially its entire periphery P, shown in FIG. 3, to exterior surface 18 of contoured panel 14. The bonding of shell 28 to contoured panel 14 may be accomplished by friction welding, or solvent welding, or fusion welding, or by ultrasonic welding or other types of bonding techniques known to those skilled in the art and suggested by this disclosure. In any event, acoustic shell 28 also incorporating pelvic bolster 32, circumscribes a portion of the exterior surface 18 of contoured panel 14, including speaker port 24, which is formed in contoured panel 14. Because acoustic shell 28 is bonded about its periphery, including that portion of its periphery associated with speaker port 24, acoustic shell 28 forms a sealed acoustic volume with exterior surface 18 of contoured panel 14. This tuning volume allows the manufacturer of a vehicle incorporating this novel structure to eliminate two sound system speakers, with an attendant weight savings of 18 pounds, while producing superior audio performance and while increasing trunk space within the vehicle by eliminating the need for extra speakers.

FIG. 3 illustrates acoustic shell 28, incorporating pelvic bolster 32, which serves to distribute impact loads imposed upon door panel 22 of vehicle 10, to the pelvic region of an occupant sitting alongside the illustrated door of vehicle 10. Pelvic bolster 32 is constituted as a hollow, tiered force transmission device having a number of stacked multiplanar force transmitting members 34, which are shown with particularity in FIG. 4. Stacked members 34 are integral and unitary and are molded integrally with shell 28.

As shown in FIG. 7, shell 28 defines a continuous acoustic chamber 31 including a chamber portion formed by stacked multiplanar force transmitting members 34, and a chamber portion adjacent speaker port 24.

Shell 28 is preferably formed from plastic material commonly known as glass-filled polypropylene, with 12% rubber added to modify the cold ambient fragmentation performance of shell 28. Contoured panel 14 is preferably molded from polypropylene, so as to be compatible with acoustic shell 28. Those skilled in the art will appreciate in view of this disclosure that other types of materials may be used to form a contoured panel and acoustic shell with a pelvic booster according to the present invention.

As noted above, FIG. 6 illustrates a prior art door trim panel, 100, having a pelvic bolster 102 which is a simply a block of foam which performs no acoustic function.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with particular embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that various modifications, alterations, and adaptations may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention set forth in the following claims.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8045744Jun 11, 2008Oct 25, 2011GM Global Technology Operations LLCDoor speaker enclosure with integral water barrier and hardware attachment
WO2014096629A2 *Dec 10, 2013Jun 26, 2014Peugeot Citroen Automobiles SaAssembly comprising a window lifter, a loudspeaker bracket, a side impact bar, and an acoustic chamber ready to be installed in a motor vehicle door
WO2015040315A1 *Sep 15, 2014Mar 26, 2015Peugeot Citroen Automobiles SaAcoustic chamber incorporating a side-impact absorption brace
Classifications
U.S. Classification296/146.7, 296/187.05, 381/389
International ClassificationB60J5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60J5/0416
European ClassificationB60J5/04D4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 29, 2014FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Dec 28, 2010FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Apr 25, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FORD GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FORD MOTOR COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:015940/0090
Effective date: 20050422
Owner name: FORD MOTOR COMPANY, MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TILLI, ROBERT;COON, BENJAMIN;WHITENS, MICHAEL;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015940/0085;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050418 TO 20050421